Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Naming something twice: Alternatives and improvements in Elizabeth Bishop and Sumita Chakraborty

"The Map", the first poem in Elizabeth Bishop's first book "North & South" (1946), includes a gesture typical of Bishop: "Shadows, or are they shallows, at its edges" (the edges of the land on the map the poem describes). The poem names something – the "shadows" on the map – and then offers an alternative word for it – "shallows" – a word motivated by both sound (alliteration and rhyme) and sense. The second of the poems called "Arrow" in Sumita Chakraborty's collection "Arrow" (2020) includes a version of Bishop's gesture: "Fields of pines—no, full coasts—caught flame." As with Bishop's alternative, this improvement is motivated by sound (the alliterations) as well as sense. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 23 February 2022)


Blackboard from today's discussion of the section from that Chakraborty poem with that passage.

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